6.25.2008

Powerful News

Ever since I first visited the Newseum several years ago, I've vowed
to return once it moved into its new digs on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Yesterday, I took a day off from work and took the train down to DC to
check it out. I was not disappointed.

If you haven't been, I don't know what to say except go, and plan to
spend the whole day. I budgeted a half day and found myself
speed-walking through entire floors. The museum has seven floors
worth of exhibits, with photos and videos you could several days
combing through. I mean, does it get more powerful than to hear from
the person who shot the photo of the Napalmed Vietnamese girl, or to
get a sense of what was going through the minds of the people who
first captured the spectacle that was Hurricane Katrina?

The museum's 9/11 exhibit was the one that got me the most misty-eyed.
I don't think I had seen the one clip, a close-up of the second plane
slicing into the second tower that caused me and the rest of the
people crowded into the small theater to gasp aloud. Riveting stuff,
everywhere you turned.

Sometimes media can seem so familiar, so easily taken for granted.
But much of what I saw at the Newseum was ordinary men and women who
captured extraordinary moments with uncanny sensitivity to the moment.
The world is forever better for their having told the story, whether
with words or images.

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